Debbie Harry and Patti Smith serve as inspiration for the new ‘Persuasion’ film

Marianne Agertoft, the costume designer behind the dark and romantic Poldark, Les Miserables and Fearless, has taken on the English era of Janes Austen’s Persuasion, for Netflix. 

Joe Wright’s beautiful film Pride and Prejudice, and Douglas McGrath Emma, have paved a particularly strong path for fashion and elegance at the turn of the 19th century. So it seems fitting to give it a new twist, and Agertoft did just that, taking inspiration from some of her music idols, Debbie Harry and Patti Smith. 

Directed by Carrie Cracknell and starring Dakota Johnson, Persuasion is a classic tale of long gone awry. The story follows Anne Elliot, the daughter of the elitist Sir Walter Elliot. Anne, who is quiet in nature falls in love with and becomes engaged to Captain Wentworth.

persuasion film netflix
Credit: Netflix

Due to Wentworth having no fortune at the time, Anne allows herself to be ‘persuaded’ to give him up. Fast forward eight years later, Wentworth has returned to the neighborhood, very rich and very unmarried. Anne finds her feelings are as strong as they were when they were engaged. Can she persuade him to give her a second chance?

To match the modern Fleabag script, the costume designer has given Anne’s costumes a modern edge, with louche shirting, muddy boots, and looser silhouettes. 

In a chat with Vogue, Agertoft explains “We decided early on that we could loosen up on the period accuracy if and when we felt it was necessary. It all started with the mood board. Anne is quite a complex character and after I read the script, I read quite a bit of Patti Smith and thought about that look. It seemed to connect with Anne’s intellectual side, but Anne also has a more adventurous side which I felt like was more Debbie Harry, and there’s also something about her that’s a bit, Audrey Hepburn. Austen’s characters internalise a lot of their emotions so it didn’t feel right for us to do anything too stylised or go overboard. We wanted to bring a more contemporary feel to the costumes in quieter ways, and a lot of it was also about the attitude and how the actor wore the garments.”

patti smith

With Harry and Smith serving as inspo, Agertoft mood board is simply to die for.

debbie harry and patti smith

Persuasion is slated for release in cinemas on 8 July and on Netflix on 15 July.